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Whittling Away

Written By Editor on 11/26/21 | 11/26/21

A Cup of Coffee
By Dick Brooks

 I was delighted the last time she was home when The Princess told me she was going to a coffee house to meet some friends.  I know about coffee and about houses so I figured this would be a good topic for a father-daughter conversation.  We had an enjoyable chat, pleasant, bubbly and all but went our separate ways wondering what the heck the other one was talking about.  My version of a coffee house, the kind I hung out in during the sixties and early seventies, were dark, dingy dives which bear little resemblance to the ambience of the modern version.  My coffee house had folk music, poetry, jazz and contemplative conversation.  It was a place to hang out, meet friends and listen to some usually local musicians and writers display their talents.  The Princess’s version had a lot of things in common with mine, the conversation and even the poetry is still there.  Music appears on occasion, the main difference is, her group actually drinks coffee.
     The choice of beverages in the old Eighth Step Coffee House, when I first started going there, was coffee (which almost nobody ever drank) and hot cider.  50 cents would buy you a cup of either, they comprised the entire menu of the establishment.  We went for the music.
     The coffee houses The Princess frequents don’t have as much music but a heck of a lot more goodies.  Today’s kids actually go there to drink coffee and teas.  They have menus listing all the specialty beverages that are available.  The Princess has no trouble ordering and loves lingering over her choice and chatting with her friends for hours so I guess it is a good thing.
     Coffee has come a long way since I first became aware of it.  My mother and father always started the day with a cup.  Becoming a coffee drinker was a rite of passage, when your parents asked you if you wanted a cup of coffee, you knew you were now officially a cup carrying adult.  Other than the ritualistic moving from the kids’ table to the adult table during the holidays, I can think of no other occasion that marked the end of childhood more distinctly than being handed that white mug at breakfast.
     Getting a cup of coffee was easier back then, you went into a diner or restaurant, and ordered a cup of coffee.  The waitress or the guy behind the counter plunked it in front of you, pushed the little silver pitcher of cream and the sugar shaker across the counter and you were good to go.
     I was traveling on the Thruway a month or so ago and started to get tired so I decided to stop at a rest area and get a cup of coffee to perk me up.  This particular rest stop even featured a nationally known coffee chain shop.  I had heard that their coffee was good so I decided to try it.  The first problem I had was the overhead menu, it was written in a foreign language, none of which seemed to indicate that coffee was sold there.  There were all sorts of machines puffing and squirting steam but I didn’t see a regular looking coffee machine anywhere.  I decided to go to McDonalds since I knew that they had coffee when I noticed another old guy who looked like he knew what was going on, so I asked him if they sold coffee there.  I told him what I wanted and he translated.  I walked out with a Grande Mocha Latte Cappuccino Columbian Frappe or something like that.  It tasted good, almost like coffee and I couldn’t sleep for three days so it worked well but I think next time I’m going to McDonalds where I can get a meal and a cup of regular coffee for about the same price I paid for the whatever it was I had.
     Thought for the week—Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
     Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well. 

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